Club backs Espaillat, but some members stay mum
(Page 2 of 3)
By Adam Wisnieski
“For us not to take a stand would be a mistake,” he said of the club’s endorsement.
“Nobody’s really putting pressure on me, there’s just a lot of considerations,” he said when asked if his own support had been withheld because of political loyalty to county.
Mr. Dinowitz said he is petitioning for his current seat and focusing on passing legislation in Albany. He said he does not want to make an endorsement he can’t back up with campaigning.
As for Mr. Engel, he might be hedging his bets so as not to alienate a future colleague. In years past, it would not have mattered if Mr. Engel, a 23-year Congressman, weighed in on a race involving his longtime colleague Mr. Rangel, because Mr. Rangel never before represented the Bronx.
Now almost the entire Bronx portion of Congressional District 13 overlaps with the area Mr. Engel has represented for two decades. For him not to support a candidate would be unusual.
Mr. Engel was not at last week’s endorsement meeting and has not responded to calls for comment since the club’s vote last week.
At the May 2 dinner at the Riverdale Temple, Mr. Engel said he had not made up his mind. When asked what his relationship to Mr. Rangel had been over the years, he said, “We’re not bosom buddies, but I respect him.”
Mr. Dinowitz and Mr. Engel are very popular in their districts and hold a lot of sway.
“I want Jeff,” Mr. Espaillat said on the subject of endorsements at the club’s annual dinner on May 2.
Mr. Rangel has not had trouble getting support from within the Bronx. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., state Sen. Jose M. Serrano, Assemblyman Carl Heastie and Rep. Jose E. Serrano are backing the longtime Congressman.
State Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who is also a member of the Ben Franklin Club, endorsed Mr. Espaillat long ago. Former Bronx Borough Presidents Adolfo Carrion and Fernando Ferrer also endorsed him.
Many Ben Franklin members urged fellow members to endorse Mr. Espaillat, but state committee member Helen Morik urged the club to back Mr. Rangel because of his seniority.
KeywordsAdam Wisnieski, Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, Adriano Espaillat, politics, Congressional District 13